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Haight-Asbury Children's Center 
San Francisco, California 

Case Study from Volume II -A 


sponsored by 

The Office of Economic Opportunity 

National Center for Educational Communication 

Day Care Programs 
Reprint Series 


Haight-Ashbury Children's Center 
San Francisco, California 

Principal Author: Linda Elbow 

Field Observers: Clark Abt 

Kathryn Hanson 
Barbara Keller 

Case Study from Volume 1 1- A 


The Office of Economic Opportunity 

National Center for Educational Communication 


At A Glance 1 

Haight-Ashbury, November, 1970 , 3 

Notable Elements 11 

Curriculum , 1 1 

Staff 15 

Parent Involvement 16 

Background Information !':■ 

History 23 

Community 24 

Parents 24 

Basic Program 27 

Education 27 

Food 27 

Health 27 

Transportation 28 

Social Services 28 

Parent Education 30 

Community Organization 30 

Organization 33 

Policymaking 33 

Staff Organization 34 

Organization Chart 35 

Volunteers 36 

Staff Meetings and Records 36 

Staff Development and Training 37 

Staff Roster 39 

Director Time-Use Chart 40 

How Resources Are Used 41 

In Conclusion 43 

Appendix 53 

Parents' Participation Share Plan 54 

Sample Menu 57 

Future Plans for Development 58 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

California State Library Califa/LSTA Grant 



SINGLE CENTER in three buildings 

SPONSORED BY: Haight-Ashbury Children's Center, Inc. 
(private, non-profit corporation) 

ADMISSION CRITERIA: Community resident; past, present or future 

AFDC recipient; parents working, in training or school who need 
day care 

TOTAL CHILDREN: 63 enrolled/54 A. D. A. (19% toddlers, 81% pre-school) 
2-1/2 - 6 years 

TOTAL PAID STAFF: 20 (16 full-time) 822 hours /week 

TOTAL IN-KIND STAFF: 38 (1 full-time) 281 hours /week 

HOURS: M - F, 7:00 A. M. - 6:00 P. M. , 52 weeks 

SPACE (sq. ft. /child): Indoor = 35 

Outdoor = 75 

CENTER OPENED: October, 1969 

STAFF POSITIONS: Director, Secretary, 3 Head Teachers, 10 Teacher 
Assistants, Cook, Cook's Assistant, Social Worker, 2 Janitors 

CONTACT: Director, Haight-Ashbury Children's Center, Inc. 
1101 Masonic Avenue 
San Francisco, California 



ETHNIC: Children: 54% Black, 30% Anglo, 8% Oriental-American 

6% Chicano, 2% Filipino; Staff : 63% Black, 37% Anglo 

SEX: Children: 48% Girls, 52% Boys; Staff : 70% Women, 30% Men 



FAMILY STATUS: 17% complete, 77% mother only, 4% father only, 
2% surrogate 

PARENT EMPLOYMENT: 54% full-time, 13% part-time, 17% unemployed, 
14% in school or training, 2% not seeking work 


TO PARENTS: $25/month toward purchase of share in center 

TO CENTER: $3895 per child/year, $1.71 per child/hour 


HEW $112,000 

City of San Francisco 20,000 

Private 17,000 

State Food (USDA) 10, 100 

In Kind 49, 300 







San Francisco sprawls around San Francisco Bay, with Sausalito 
and Marin County to the north, Berkeley to the east, and San Mateo and 
a string of developments stretching south to San Jose. San Francisco 
itself is beautiful, gracious and civilized. Perhaps because it's a port, 
the ordinary tends to be mere exotic than mundane, with a patchwork of 
international myths: the Bi.rbary Coast, the Pacific Islands, Chinatown, 
the clipper ship days, the gold rush era, the Beatnik 50's. 

Then came the hippie 60 's, the influx of thousands of young peo- 
ple. The acid test, both literal and metaphorical, came in the hot 
summers of the mid-60's, with fire, violence, anger, breaking glass 
and police search lights exploding along streets in New York, Detroit, 
Chicago, Los Angeles, and . . . San Francisco, in an area described 
by two intersecting streets, Haight and Ashbury. 

The kids came to H light -Ashbury, a saunter away from Golden 
Gate Park, and the grownups came to see them. Hucksters of every 
good or service came to make a buck off them all. Today, the neighbor- 
hood looks dead, finished. The streets are dirty and dark. Trash 
stacked on curbs is washed by the rain onto the sidewalks and streets. 
The old neighborhood, with its friendships, alliances, goods and ser- 
vices, is gone. Only 18% of the 30,000 residents of Haight have been 
here for more than four years. The community upheaval is subsiding 
somewhat, but the area isn't near full recovery and may never be, for 
better or worse, what it once was. Haight -Ashbury has some of the 
finest old Victorian homes and town houses in the city. Although it's 
said that people are moving in and redeveloping them (rents are going 
up and the poor and Black are being squeezed out), none of this is 

Because of recent staff turnover, including the director, it is not known 

whether this case study represents current center operations. 

obvious yet from the street. Buildings look neglected, windows are 
boarded over, doors are padlocked, some places are condemned. 

Many of the old neighborhood stores are gone, replaced by head 
shops and boutiques, leather goods and gewgaws. Hustling and pan- 
handling have taken over the streets. But for those who live there, 
groceries must be bought, little kids met at school, and the distance 
between parked car or bus stop and the front door must somehow be 
covered each day. Drugs and crime are serious neighborhood problems. 
If you're going to make it, you've got to be fast, tricky and cool, or 
you're it. Most of the people who live in Haight-Ashbury now are young, 
under 35. (Only 9% of the local population is over 55 years of age. ) 
And the mix is a rich one -- Black, Anglo, Filipino, Oriental,, Chicano -• 
all intensely, actively, and sometimes chaotically integrated. 

In the heart of all this is the Haight-Ashbury Children's Center, 
on a corner lot at Page and Masonic Streets. The following are the 
observers impressions of what the center was like in November, 1970. 
The building is an old grey one, tumbling-down city Georgian style. 
The latch doesn't work and there's a big padlock nailed onto the front 
door. It's fenced off from the street by latticed wire and set about 
ten feet back from the sidewalk. The intervening space is a tiny play- 
ground with driftwood, platforms, lots of equipment for a small space. 

Inside the front door, you turn right into what was once a front 
parlor and is now a conference room with a big table, chairs, a coffee 
irn. At the rear of this room is the director's office, but it's more 
like a closet-file cabinet, and the director spends most of her time 
dealing with people in the conference room. 

Lynn Steinman is the director. She's thirtyish, Anglo, and 
dresses informally in a wash skirt, jersey, tights, sneakers, often 
with a cotton hanky around her head. She has a deep voice, she speaks 
emphatically, listens hard, and is very direct. A straight shooter. 

Her field is child development, and she knows her stuff. She consults 
with a number of educational agencies in the area -- Head Start and 
others -- and gets yanked into government hearings whether or not they 
relate directly to the Haight center. She's the kind of woman who 
every time out vows not to get involved, does so in spite of herself, 
and then must make a real effort to get herself back down to a human- 
sized work load again. The center is visited by many local and national 
observers interested in day care, and it has received a good deal of 
publicity in the San Francisco media. While our observation team was 
at her center, Lynn Steinman gave them a great deal of her time and 
attention, filling out time-consuming forms and questionnaires, readily 
available to answer all our questions. Like the rest of her staff, she's 
extremely hard-working and yet gracious about interruptions. 

Directly across the hall from the director's office is the kitchen. 
All three rooms open out into the entrance hall, and people in each room 
greet and chat with whoever is passing through. The place gets a lot 
of traffic, but the only permanent people here are the director, the 
cook, and the center's secretary /bookkeeper. 

Every wall in the center seems to be covered with paper. Big 
bulletin boards in the entrance hall are crowded with announcements 
about school and all sorts of community programs, services and enter- 
tainments. The walls of the conference room are moie specifically 
school-related -- lots of kids' artwork, floor-to-ceiling staff schedules, 
memos, signs about who to pay for coffee, who's lost what where. The 
paper keeps going up in swatches -- when it's obsolete, it's covered 
with new paper. There's a lot going on, and the boards reflect this 
frenetic pace. 

The upper floor of this main building is rented out to Planned 
Parenthood, the San Francisco Food Supplement Program and Neighbor- 
hood Arts offices. Out the back door, down a few steps and across a 

small space is the children's building. It looks like a small school. A 
central activity room right inside the door feeds off into more specialized 
classrooms for music, art and so on. Upstairs are science, reading 
and math rooms. The place is somewhat dirty. The downstairs floor 
is covered with wall-to-wall synthetic carpet which is stained, soggy 
and smelly. No one particularly likes it that way, but it's a money 
matter, they have other priorities, and sooner or later it'll be replaced. 
While we were there it was raining all the time with the resulting 
sniffles, dampness, chill or warmth, depending on who did what to the 
thermostat last. 

During prime time the center is overwhelming. There's a lot 
happening at once, with people of all sizes, ages, roles, colors coming 
and Roing, each juggling three things at once, talking in all directions, 
with attentions divided up, down and across. A very rich feeling very 
chaotic, very disarming. The place is a combination of relaxation and 

The day begins -- gratefully -- quietly. The center is truly a 
neighborhood one, and children, for the most part, walk there with 
parents or older brothers and sisters. They come in the front door of 
the main building, holler hello to the cook, and troop through the back- 
yard to the children's building, where they hang their coats and join 
a teacher and children who are listening to a story. Soft music is 
playing on a record player. As more teachers and children arrive, 
other stories begin in other rooms. 

Meanwhile, one teacher carries trays from the kitchen to a 
third building and sets tables for breakfast. There's cocoa and milk 
in large pitchers, oatmeal and toast. Twenty kids and two teachers 
come in; a third teacher joins them and the kids serve themselves, 
stacking the dirty dishes on trays when they're finished. Conversation 
is relaxed -- teachers and kids deal with each other as equals and 

everyone uses first names. When they're finished, the kids wander back 
outside and stop on their way to the children's building to wade in the 
puddles. When the noise level builds, a teacher steps out and herds 
them on their way. 

Back in the other building, ten more kids have arrived during 
breakfast. They all mill around, waiting for the rest to arrive for 
morning meeting. The meeting starts with a song: "If you're happy 
and you know it, clap your hands. " The singing and clapping drain off 
energy, and as the kids relax, a lead teacher calls on each staff member 
to talk about his or her plans for the day, and then asks the kids what 
they plan to do. When the meeting is over, kids scatter. A room check 
ten minutes after this meeting reveals: 

Music Room: 1 child, 1 teacher; Science Room: 10 children, 
2 teachers; Tape Recorder: 6 children, 1 teacher; Typing Room: 3 
children, 1 teacher; Math Table: 5 children, 1 teacher; Stitchery: 2 
children, 1 teacher; Blocks: 3 children, 1 teacher; Toddler Room: 12 
children, 1 teacher; 2 teachers outside and 2 floating from group to 

By midmorning the weather clears and activity has stepped up. 
A child dictates a story to the teacher at the typewriter, then moves the 
teacher aside to type her own name; cuisinaire rods move between ten 
hands at the math table; 15 kids are outside with a teacher, all of them 
climbing on the play structure; 5 kids strike off for the market with a 
teacher who is buying vegetables for an afternoon cooking class. The 
animals must be fed and loved, plants watered, a picture painted, a 
puppet house nailed together for the puppets being made in stitchery. 

Kids wander from activity to activity, staying at some five 
minutes and in other areas for an hour. Small groups of kids meet in 
the halls to chatter or bother each other, then reconstellate, one child 

wandering off to play with the instruments in the music room, a handful 
drawn into the science room to squeeze berries for tomorrow's shirt 
dyeing project. The flow is constant, children moving in and out, up 
and down stairs, into the next building to see what Ruby and Lynn are 
up to. 

The teachers move around in all this activity casually, but with 
a great deal of warmth and sensitivity to each child's development and 
problems. There's a lot of physical contact -- staff hugs, holds and 
carries kids, the kids cuddle up to a teacher reading a story or are 
affectionately rocked in a big chair. Yet there is a strong feeling of 
independence among the kids: they are proud of it and are encouraged in 
it by the staff. Hurt children sometimes seek teachers for comfort, but 
more often work out their own problems. A five -year -old girl knocks 
over her milk, calmly saunters over to get a sponge, mops up, and with 
a "Here," tosses it to another youngster who has knocked over his milk 
in the meantime. 

Mike, walking back to the table with his dessert, is jostled by 
another kid. Mike turns on him. "You fucker, I dropped my pie!" 
A teacher at the table with the rest of the kids hears but barely looks 
up. "Mike, do you know his name?" "Yes. " "Then you don't have to 
call him fucker -- you can call him Robert. " 

Afternoon snack is pumpkin pie made by the kids in cookery. As 
kids wind down, they drift to quieter activities. In one corner, a teacher 
turns the pages of a book to illustrate a recorded story. One boy puts 
his head on the table and listens. During a pause the teacher rubs his 
head and says softely, "Did you go to reading class today? You know 
your letters so you'll enjoy it. Try it tomorrow. When I go to your 
house next week to visit, I'll tell your mother all about the letters and 
numbers you've learned. " 

As it darkens, mothers begin dropping in for their children. 
They look over the bulletin boards, exchange gossip with staff and 
neighbors, hear about: a new adult education class and tomorrow's 
dental check of the children, and collect their kids, pausing under 
the porch light beforo the evening dash home. 


Several aspects of the Haight-Ashbury Children's Center are 
unique. For one thing, it is truly a community center. Children do 
walk there with their parents, which is surprisingly uncommon among 
day care centers. The center is also a focal point for community action, 
with acommunity services located in the building, and board meetings 
addressing neighborhood problems. Moreover, this center approaches 
its problems in creative ways. As mentioned earlier, outdoor space 
is barely adequate, and it's in little chunks between and alongside the 
buildings. It's awkward for children to play in and teachers to super- 
vise. So a local sculptor /carpenter was commissioned to design and 
build a structure that would offer as many activities as possible within 
the bounds of space and safety. The resulting structure of driftwood, 
telephone spools, tires, boards and branches was quite successful. 
Whole groups of children can use the structure at the same time. 
Different parts of it are good for climbing, hanging, dancing, playing 
house in, and so on, and nobody seems to get in anyone else's way. 
A ship's funnel is still to be incorporated as a slide. 

But there are several other elements in the center's operation 
which are noteworthy, and which make it the vital, rich center it has 


The center uses a modification of the British Infant School 
system. (See the Appendix for sources of information about this 
system. ) The philosophy is that each child is an individual and as 
such is given the freedom to set his own pace and to choose those 
activities which interest him within an overall developmental frame- 
work. The center and its staff are resources from which each child 
can choose to learn at his own pace. 


This system, as adapted at the Haight center, has a strong 
relation to the developmental concepts of Pieget, with a focus on the 
child "doing" things rather than watching or listening. This involves 
open classrooms, student control of their own programs, and a good 
deal of peer interaction and teaching. Kids wander from room to room, 
class to class at will. They can put down one activity when they tire of 
it and move on to something else. Each staff member specializes in one 
area, and plans his or her own program around that area, developing 
materials to fit his needs. The Haight staff offers math, dramatic 
play, cooking, blocks, writing, stitchery, art, carpentry, music and 
body movement, discovery science, reading and language development. 
Quieter activities for younger children include water play, sand, play 
dough, painting and others. Students learn quickly which teachers are 
responsible for the various activities and where they will be happening- 
Teachers spend extra time orienting new children to the resources and 

All children meet each morning with the teaching staff to map 
Dut the day's activities. Teachers who have special projects or outings 
olanned (it is rare that a teacher leaves the center for anything without 
taking a group of children along) describe them at this time and let 
children know when and where they will be happening and what kinds 
of things they can expect. At the end of this meeting, staff pinpoints 
some of the children on their choices before breaking up and getting 
down to work. 

At the Haight center, the staff feels that kids can teach each 
other, often as well as staff can teach. This interaction between children 
can occur on a one-to-one basis, with one student teaching or helping 
another, or in small groups of children engaged in some kinds of problem- 
solving. Often, but not necessarily part of this process, the practice 
of mixed age groups is used -- either in terms of years or skill develop- 
ment -- where groups of children are working together. This kind of 
family grouping, as its called, is used at the Haight center, and it 


seemed to be working well at the time of our visit. Children were 
helping each other, and within these groups, children appeared to be 
gaining a good deal of independence. 

The British Infant School system was originally evolved for 
children 2 or 3 years older than the Haight's children. So this system 
has been adapted to the center's needs, and has been implemented 
gradually, over the last year and a half. It is an experiment, and as 
such it is evaluated almost daily. Changes are readily incorporated 
to enhance 1 the ways it, the children and the staff work together as a 
system. One of the major constraints of the program is the ages of 
the children involved. According to the director, most pre-schoolers 
have trouble thinking about their own expectations, and younger kids 
especially find the wide latitude for choice hard to handle. While older 
kids may be up to this, given a chance to work it out on their own, 
their integration with toddlers sometimes confuses and distracts from 
their purposefulness in this area. 

The older children who become acclimated to the program are 
in many ways the mainstays of the operation. They, more than the 
teachers, provide leadership for the younger children in peer teaching 
situations, and serve as role models for decision-making. This group 
is never a stable one, since each year a large number of them move 
out of the center and into first grade in public school. A real blow to 
the program occurred last September, when a funding crisis made the 
center's future uncertain, and many parents of older children decided 
to place them in public kindergarten while they had a chance, rather 
than risk a year without child care. 

During the week we were visiting, the staff was in the process 
of modifying the program to deal with some of the problems they were 
experiencing. Morning meeting was to remain an institution for the 
older children. Younger kids would be invited to attend, but if they 
chose not to, more structured activities would be available for them. 


In the late afternoon, when kids are tired and any kind of program is 
most likely to dissipate into cranky disorder, the family grouping would 
be suspended and students divided into three age groupings with activities 
appropriate to the attention levels of each. Moreover, more staff would 
be allocated as "floaters" during the periods of open activity, to ensure 
supervision wherever kids might congregate. 

The center's facilities include an art room, a music -movement 
room, a dramatic play center, learning centers, a library, carpentry 
facilities, a science discovery room and a darkroom/photo lab, where 
children can develop their own pictures. All rooms are well-equipped 
with materials. The science room, for example, contains boxes with 
a variety of plants, a terrarium with snails, cages of guinea pigs, an 
aquarium of tropical fish, weighing and balancing scales, a shelf of 
science booklets, trays of seashells and rocks, and so on. Other areas 
are similarly well-equipped. Major materials and equipment include a 
child -sized kitchen, record players, a piano, photography equipment, 
all major art supplies, blocks, puzzles, games, and so on, most of 
which are donated. There are seven adult-sized toilets for the children 
and one for staff. These facilities are inadequate in both child comfort 
and sanitary upkeep. 

Outside equipment, besides the play sculpture, includes slides, 
wagons, tricycles, trucks, tables, a climbing house, benches, a sand 
pit, logs, tires, sheet metal ductwork, and other toys. Wood chips 
provide the ground covering. Children have access to water from a low 
drinking fountain, spigots and hoses. 

In the program, each child's particular language is accepted, and 
he is encouraged to be expressive. The center currently has 4 Biafran 
children (Ibo) 2 of whom spoke no English when they arrived. Each of 
them has now learned to express themselves successfully in English. 
There is a special reading -writing class every afternoon for those chil- 


dren who show interest. Teachers may also take dictation from children, 
write the words in a child's book, and read this back to him thus en- 
couraging him to learn to read by reading his own words. 

While it might appear on the surface that there is no explicit 
teaching of many subjects and only random development of concepts, in 
actuality the days are structured by what the staff sees as a process 
geared to the long range development of each child. Traditional concepts 
are taught through such programs as organic reading and a science-math 
combination curricula. Piegetian concepts of child development are 
stressed, and there is a continual evaluation of each child, providing 
direction and assistance to his overall development. 

All activities are child-selected, and creativity and experimenta- 
tion are encouraged. Some outside activities involve take-home tasks 
and field trips. Cooking and other "messy" activities are common. 
Each child is free to enjoy these activities, and parents are asked to 
provide a change of clothes for their children, to be stored for messy 
or rainy-day need. 

The educational program seemed to be working quite well, with 
children moving according to their interests and attention spans from 
one activity to another. Teachers were engaged and engaging, and 
interaction between children and adults was warm and frequent. The 
atmosphere of permissiveness and complete freedom in this center can 
be overwhelming to an outsider, but it contributues to the vitality and 
success of the overall program. 


The quality of the center's personnel is outstanding. They bring 
to their jobs a variety of skills -- both substantive and interpersonal -- 
which they exercise with a great deal of sensitivity. 


Staff members often disagree as intensely as they teach. Ob- 
servers were struck with the variety and open expression of opinions 
by staff members regarding what was wrong with the program and each 
other: this, too, is typical of this center, where honest evaluation 
is continual, where new ideas are challenged, defended, brought before 
staff and parents, and given a hearing. There is a good deal of 
soul-searching, honesty and directness. There are meetings, roles, 
memos and a mammoth investment in time for all these things. The 
spontaneity and freshness of this ongoing staff dialogue is one of the 
most disarming aspects of the center. 

Nine of the staff members are Anglo and eleven are Black. 
Of the thirteen teachers and aides, four are men who fill the very 
important male roles for children, most of whom come from mother- 
headed families. Two staff members are parents themselves, and all 
the staff relate well with the center's young parents. Average age of the 
staff is 25. Several teacher assistants are community residents with a 
lot to offer the children. 

In addition, the staff is well-educated. Of the total staff of 20, 
two have M. A. 's, two have done graduate work, five have B. A. 's, nine 
have at least one year of college, and two left school between the seventh 
and eleventh grades. Staff members have an informal style: some are 
long-haired, most are dungareed, and all have a strong presence. They 
are direct, warm, actively opinionated about child development and each 
other, and have unusual rapport with and respect for the children. 
Teachers often spend their own money to buy materials and equipment 
they feel the children need. 

Parent Involvement 

Parents have been an integral part of the center from the be- 
ginning. Many helped found the center (see History, under Background 
Information ), and parents control all aspects of the operation. Parents 


at the center have handled all the typical day care start-up problems -- 
finding a sit<!, funding, getting licensee, meeting regulations. When 
the City of San Francisco refused to releaue promised funds, the 
community responded by staging a march and a sit-in until the money 
was released. The event got national publicity in newspapers and on 
TV. Its real importance, however, lay in the way it knit the community 
together and made people realize that they could make something happen. 
Much of the initial wheeling and dealing in center affairs had been done 
by concerned middle-class community members: on this occasion, 
everyone involved -- middle, working and non-working classes, Black, 
Anglo, young and old-- all of them stood chanting in the foyer of city hall, 
fighting for their center. 

Parents have a real financial stake in the center. The Parents' 
Participation Share Plan (described in detail in the Appendix) was designed 
to help meet the center's expenses while involving parents in the center's 
operation. Parents are required, instead of paying fees, to purchase 
shares in the Haight center as long as their children are enrolled there. 
(When children are withdrawn, installments for incomplete shares are 
refunded, less a small handling fee. ) Share purchases are made on a 
monthly installment basis of $25, until the half-share price of $250 has 
been attained. For those who cannot afford the monthly charge, adjust- 
ments can be made. 

When a parent has paid $250, a half-share is issued which pays 
interest each year. After three years, the entire balance of the half 
share is paid off to the parent. Through this plan, the center is buying its 
property and buildings, and meeting day-to-day expenses. Parents, 
moreover, have a tangible stake in the center, and the director estimates 
that 50% of the parents are actively involved in the center's programs. 

Policymaking authority and responsibility lie directly in the 
hands of center parents, through the board of directors (eight parents, 
four community members) and the parent governing board which elects 


il . Parents plan the program, levelop the budget, administer funds, hire 
and fire staff, and oversee all aspects of the program. There are also 
various sub -committees which are formed when called for: at present 
they cover finance, health, maintenance and staff screening. These 
policymaking bodies are described in the Organization section of this 

Very few of the center's parents have much experience running 
anything, even their own lives. Given this, many people have, out of 
their helplessness or habit, looked to the board and the director for 
decisions and leadership. Others want to seize the opportunity to tell the 
rest what to do. Parent meetings are often passive - aggressive, push-me/ 
pull-you sessions. Some people are too shy to speak up. Others are more 
aggressive and of these some are sincere-- they really want to get things 
done and assume responsibility. 

A Lot of the parents are simply not interested in running a 
school or in thinking and acting about many of the things that entails. So 
there is not too much sense yet, among the broad base of Haight's parents, 
of the relationship between decisions and consequences. There is little 
structured organization, little consistency. 

This is reflected best, for instance, in the difference between 
what parents say they want and what they do when they exercise their 
control. One of the ongoing arguments between parents and staff has been 
over the issue of student discipline. Parents complain that things at the 
center are too loose, that the staff should be tougher with the kids, and 
so on. But the parent personnel committee hires the staff, after conducting 
eKhaustive interviews feeling out applicants on just such attitudes. In 
post-interview discussions, prospective teachers are often rejected be- 
cause they aren't loose enough; and, in fact, there are no spankers on the 


Parent/parent relations can be as intense as staff/staff relations. 
There are lots of differences among parents. Some are quite sophisticated, 
with their own notions about child development; some simply want a handy 
place where their kids are looked after the taught how to behave. Cliques 
form and re-form among parents, along racial, social, or philosophical 
lines; there's a fair amount of infighting among groups and individuals. 
Parent board meetings can get hectic, with screaming and occasionally 
even physical action. In this passionate atmosphere, center management 
is likely to be inefficient on other than a day-to-day basis. According to 
the director, parents resist organization and formal frameworks and 
pull very hard in the other direction, to keep things loose, to avoid making 
certain people responsible for certain facets of the program across time. 
Committee memberships change often, and various procedures, policies 
and criteria are apt to accompany each change. There has thus been 
little continuity of responsibility, and management of the center has been 
slow and inconsistent, confused and confusing. 

There is also some feeling that parents have had the board and 
the director, both of whom are relied on heavily, to fall back on. While 
observers were at the center, there was some talk about making holes in 
the program to force a confrontation between parents and critical manage- 
ment problems. The chairman of the board and at least one other board 
member -- both non-parents -- were said to be resigning the following 
week, their places to be takeii by parents elected by the parent governing 
board. The director, for her part, was planning on extricating herself 
from the parent grievance responsibility she has assumed. Until now, 
she has been acting as a kind of roundhouse for parent and staff com- 
plaints about each other. She hopes to force them to deal with each 
other more directly. 

Parent management of the center, then has been slow and painful. 
While all parents have access to responsibility, and perhaps 50% are actively 
involved in some way, there is a core of people who seem to turn up on 


committees and do a lot of the talking. These people work very hard, but 
because there is some feeling that these people are not representative of 
the whole parent body, real efforts are being made to enlarge that core. 

Bear in mind, too, that this is a young center in many senses of 
the word. Because it is rich and energetic, its potential for problems is 
bound to be on the same order as its potential for productive impact. True 
crises occur instead of mere problems; there are miracles instead of mere 
e r fectiveness. And a lot has happened: parents have learned that they can 
influence the city. Parents on the board have learned more subtle politick- 
ing, fund-raising and management skills than noisy demonstrating. Perhaps 
parent involvement and its effect is best summarized by the parents them- 

"This program takes a lot of planning on the part of 
teachers and real involvement of parents." "Parents 
make all decisions on all decisions that the director 
makes. Parents have painted several rooms and are 
trying to get things done. " "I like the parent control. 
These are my kids and I don't want someone to dictate 
to me about them. Parents' instincts are finer than 
all the degree, etc. , in hiring staff. " 

"All new staff are screened by parents. Parents are re- 
sponsible for decisions. The director suggests, but the 
parents decide. I'm active as a parent, I attend meetings. 
Parents make the operation more complicated but easier-- 
teacher feedback helps us know what is needed. " "I'm 
much more community minded now. I know many more 
people in the community because of the center. I have a 
good feeling about Haight improvement. I could have moved 
out, but I chose not to. One difference the center has made 
is our involvement in the Black community. " 

"Parents form committees to work on problems. The jani- 
torial system has been improved, we are getting funding, 
parents have been involved in letter-writing, and there's 
a better understanding between teachers and parents." 

"Parents approve all hiring, firing and disbursement of 
funds. Meetings are not traditionally efficient. Meetings 
are often chaotic, with diverse and conflicting opinions. 
More committees are to be formed. Some parents are 
against this. The board also has decision-making. They 
get into financial areas -- share and investment program, 
change in physical building, funding. " 


"At parent meetings we all have a say. We've dealt with 
kids getting messy when they paint, with keeping kids dry, 
made sure the sign-in sheet is kept up to date, hired the 
janitors. " "I go to the meetings of parents, and help on 
the screening board for hiring. More than 50% of the 
parents are involved. They plan the program. Parent 
involvement means you can keep abreast of what's going 
on, be a part of decision-making. Enough parents don't 
do this." 

Everyone involved has learned that a center is possible. It's 
been there on the corner for a year and a half now. Parentti have made 
a lot of decisions -- more than in most community -based programs -- 
and they know that is possible too. The task in front of them is to 
learn how to make still more, and make them more smoothly. 



In the spring of 1969, a group of concerned Haight-Ashbury resi- 
dents held a public meeting. Those in attendance expressed a great need 
for day care, and the decision was made to start a center. An interim 
board of directors was elected to raise funds, formulate a program and 
investigate possible sites. By-laws were written, and the Haight-Ashbury 
Children's Center, Inc., a non-profit corporation, was formed. In order 
to purchase the property selected, a plan was devised whereby shares 
were sold, many of them to parents (see Parents' Participation Share 
Plan in the Appendix). This plan allowed residents to invest in the center 
while earning interest on that investment. After purchase of the property 
and various fund-raising efforts, a director was hired and licensing se- 
cured. Funding was obtained through Title IV of the Social Security Act, 
which required 25% local matching funds. By October, 1969, the center 
was in operation. 

Major obstacles during the planning stage were acquisition of 
insurance for center buildings and fund-raising for building purchase 
(community residents raised $8,000 toward this). In addition, due to 
limited outside play area, the center could only provide 75 square feet 
per child instead of the required 100. Political support was. mobilized 
and a licensing variance was issued. 

Federal funds were easily obtained. Moreover, $20, 000 was 
given by the San Francisco Foundation and the Board of Supervisors of the 
City of San Francisco promised the remaining $17,000 needed for local 
matching funds. Later, the city refused to release the money so the 
community staged a march and sit-in, and the funds were released. 


C ommunity 

Haight-Ashbury is an irlner-city, residential neighborhood with 
a population of some 30,000. It's a really integrated neighborhood, 36% 
Black, 46% Anglo, 18% Oriental,, Filipino and Chicano. It's also a young 
neighborhood-- 75% of the residents are under the age of 35. 

Few residents earn less than $2, 000 a year. Fifty percent earn 
between $2, 000 and $3, 000, 35% are between $3, 000 and $5, 000, and 
10% receive between $7, 000 and $10,000 annually. The area sustains 
a steady unemployment rate of more than 20%, while many of those who 
a::e employed work night shifts. 

During the summer of 1967, the Haight-Ashbury area was; deluged 
by an influx of hippies; the community has not yet recovered. Neighborhood 
cohesiveness and shopping areas, goods and services, disintegrated. 
Today, the area is becoming more stable, but many problems still exist, 
particularly drug abuse and a high incidence of crime. 

There is only one other day care center in the area, and its 
services are limited in quantity and quality. Run by the Board of Educa- 
tion, this center serves 90 children between three and five years of age, 
60 of whom get full-day care. Haight-Ashbury's director estimates that 
there are 1,000 families in the area in need of some form of day care 
services. The center's waiting list of eligible families is currently 
about 100. 

P arents 

Families served by the Haight center are primarily low income 
and represent a variety of ethnic groups. Roughly 75% of the families 
have yearly incomes in the $1,000 - $5,000 range. 


Income Level Center Parents 

$1,000 - $2, 000 12% 

$2, 000 - $3,000 17% 

$3, 000 - $4, 000 23% 

$4,000 - $5,000 25% 

$5, 000 - $7,000 19% 

$7, 000- $10, 000 4% 

More than half the center's children are Black, and staff compo- 
sition is balanced in this regard. Ethnic composition, family status and 
parent employment figures are included in the At a Glance chart at the 
beginning of this study. 

An average center family has two or three children. While the 
center doesn't meet the full range of a family's need for day care, it 
hopes to do so in the future by accepting infants and school-age children. 
(Future plans of the center are included in the Appendix. ) 

The majority of center parents have not advanced beyond high 
school; several parents, however, have some college or graduate educa- 
tion. Due to the center's admission policy, more parents are employed 
full-time or are in job training programs. 

Parent Educational Achievements 

Mother Father 

6th grade or less 
Grades 7 to 1 1 
High School 
1, 2, 3 years of college 
College Degree 
Graduate Work 














Families meeting the center's admission policies are accepted 
on the basis of greatest need. To be eligible, a family must have resided 
in the Haight-Ashbury community for at least six months. Clients must 
be past, present or future recipients of AFDC. Working parents are 
giver priority. 

In general, center children do not have special emotional or 
physical handicaps. At present, two children have mild emotional dis- 
turbances, five have speech disturbances, one is partially deaf and one 
has a heart condition. Special services for such children are available 
through referral. 



This aspect of the center has been discussed in the Notable 
Elements section, under Curriculum. 


The center employs a full-time cook and a part-time cook's 
assistant. In addition to the two hot meals (breakfast and lunch) and two 
snacks served daily, food is available to the children on demand. Children 
are allowed to help in the preparation of meals, in shopping, in clean-up, 
and they serve themselves. Food is carried from the main building, where 
it is prepared, to the small building which houses toddlers, where a dining 
area is set up. Eating is casual; no one is forced to eat at a given time, 
and there is no demand for the children to finish everything on their 
plates. The mealtime atmosphere is relaxed, warm, and conducive 
to general conversation. Teachers eat with the children. A sample 
menu is included in the Appendix. 

One difficulty in the compensatory nutrition program is the stress 
the Department of Agriculture places on bread and milk, both of which are 
overabundant in the children's home diets. 


The aim of Haight's health program is to provide basic care and 
to coordinate community medical resources. A doctor and a nurse are 
available on a consulting basis, and the nurse is well-known to center 
parents. First aid is available at all times. Parents and representatives 
of the University of California Medical School make up a health committee; 
together they formulate policy and gather resources. Upon enrollment, 
a volunteer medical team gives each child a thorough medical and dental 


examination. Follow-up immunizations and examinations, as well as staff 
training in child care, are provided by a volunteer pediatric team from 
the University of California, which visits the center at least once a week. 
Medicines, cough syrups, band aids and other supplies are donated by this 


If a child becomes ill a the center, he may be put in the isolation 
room, his parents are notified and he is either sent home or given 
emergency care. No sick child is admitted to the center, and teachers 
perform a cursory health inspection each morning. 


Since the center serves its own neighborhood in the inner city, 
transportation is no problem. Almost all the children walk to the center 
with parents or older brothers and sisters. The rest are driven in family 
cars. Good public transportation is also available. Transportation is 
provided by the center for field trips, which are used extensively in the 
curriculum. Usually, only five to ten children are involved at one time. 
Car pools are formed by parents and staff, and drivers are reimbursed 
for gas. 

Social Services 

Independence and self-determination for center families are the 
goals of the center's social services program. The most common social 
problems among center families are those encountered by working mothers 
who head their families and those arising from the Haight-Ashbury environ- 
ment itself. 

The center was originally funded for a full-time social worker 
and a full-time parent- community worker, but funding cutbacks meant 


the parent-community worker was lost, and the social worker was cut 
back to part-time and then voluntary service. Presently, the certer 
again has a full-time social worker, but the position may be cut again if 
funds are inadequate. Acco ding to the director: 

Despite these serious limitations. . . , the center has 
consistently worked on the basis of long-range help. 
This means that we will take an eligible parent who 
has no job or training program, but serious intentions, 
or a real problem (physically, emotionally, socially), 
and have a social worker to help them or refer them 
to help over a three-month period of time in order that 
they can make a move for themselves, and a social 
worker who is able to keep up communication or rapport 
to assure that they continue to move to self-sufficiency. 
The funding crises this year have limited the consistency 
in this. 

The social worker ind center staff provide job and child rearing 
counseling, family planning advice, and the center gives its space for 
meetings of the Welfare Rights Organization. Between 20 and 40% of the 
center's parents take advantage of the center's direct counseling and 

The social worker makes referrals to community and local 
agencies. Most commonly used social services are general health, 
child health, mental health and dental clinics; family planning; food 
stamp program; welfare and unemployment service; employment 
security office; welfare rights and legal aid; family relocation, general 
social work services; the Easter Seal Society and the Department of 
Public Health. The social worker also does follow-up on each referral, 
and many families have received jobs or job training as a result of 
referrals by the social worker. The San Francisco Food Supplement 
Program and Planned Parenthood offices, as mentioned earlier, are 
located upstairs in the main building. 

Problems encountered in the social services program are diffi- 
culties in getting good services for parents and the unavailability of some 
services, such as a well baby clinic and others. 


Parent Education 

According to Lynn Steinman: 

There is no 'course offered at the center. ' The focus 
of the center has been to build up rapport between 
parents and teachers. No one learns unless there is 
trust. People ar.e used to accepting 'institutions, ' but 
not trusting them and being cautious about expressing 
their interests or approaches to them. The center has 
focused first on providing an atmosphere for expression 
and the building of trust. People don't respond to a 
'course' unless they need it. People who come to day 
care, especially where enrollment is limited by income, 
aren't affluent enough to want to solve their children's 
development problems. They first have to become suf- 
ficient in solving their own. Day care offers this oppor- 
tunity. Next comes trusting interaction with the people 
who take care of your child. We are now ready for a 
more 'educational' based sharing. The center is an 
educational process. Its 'sharing' meetings are educa- 
tional. Your tables don't allow for any statement about 
parent education as it has been handled at the center. 
There has been a 'Parent Education' program-- it 
doesn't fit into your form. 

Community Organization 

Again, according to Mrs. Steinman: 

The center is a product of community organization. It 
represents community organization to the community. 
That's what we're all about. This isn't an organized 
community (is any?). Our staff and parent body inter- 
act in the community. There is a board meeting and a 
parent governing body meeting monthly. These are 
open meetings. Community issues and day care issues 
emerge. The board picks up on a community concern 
and offers publicity or holds a public meeting. Groups 
come to the center; the parents do the guiding. Their 
issues are ours. They give and take information. The 
social worker facilitates. 

Specific issues addressed during the past year have included 
tenants' rights (a strike), drug pushers on the street (a voice), the hippie 


element (communication), lack of health care in Haight-Ashbury (an open 
program at the center), community redevelopment (a voice), and the lack 
of after-school programs for school-age children (getting community 

When asked what changes had been achieved by the community or- 
ganization program the director had this to say: 

No big accomplishments. The focus is a communi- 
cation center, an information center. There's no 
brainwashing to a point of view; the view of the 
parents comes first. Parents have learned: 

1. That there is a viable group in the community 
and that it will speak out (a press conference 
at the center is effective). 

2. That we have been independent of 'institutions, ' 
given ourselves time (don't try to prove, but let 
our results be seen). We've become an accept- 
able part of the city, kept our autonomy, and 
can be seen but not interfered with. 

3. We've developed political pressure, have made 
political friends. These 'friends' learn from 
being involved. 

Other community organization efforts at the center have involved 
voter registration and a newsletter for center parents. 



Policymaking authority and responsibility lie directly in the hands 
of all center parents. A board of directors consists of eight parents 
elected by the parent governing board and four professional and commu- 
nity residents who meet twice a month and are responsible for overall 
center functions. All parents are members of the parent governing 
body, with three parents elected as chairmen, responsible for actual 
day care operations. 

The parent governing board participates in policy development 
while providing for the hearing of grievances, electing new board mem- 
bers, formulating parent activities, screening volunteers, approving 
community/center programs, and passing business on to the board of 
directors. Sub -committees for both boards are formed when needed; 
presently, they are addressing health, maintenance, finance and staff 
screening matters. Overall management procedures are presently being 

In addition to the board of directors and the parent board, the 
center director assists in policymaking and is relied on in many ways 
by both parents and community. Final authority in all matters rests 
with the parents. 

Specific areas within the center program are administered as 

Planning -- Parents and staff, with the director's advice, make 
all decisions regarding program planning. Parents are respon- 
sible for the change in structure of field trips (making each one 


more specifically oriented), and for the change to family 
grouping of children, among others. Overall curriculum is set 
by the parents and the director, with suggestions from the staff 
and the board of directors. 

Budgeting- -Parents, particularly those on the finance commit- 
tee, work with the director to develop the center budget. Staff 
salaries are set by the director. 

Staffing - -All hiring and firing of staff is done by center parents. 
A committee of staff and parents screens each applicant and 
makes the final decision. 

Operations - -Regular daily program activities are chosen by 
parents, staff and the director. Anyone connected with the pro- 
gram has a voice in policymaking. Because the participation of 
parents is basic to the program, and because it is their program, 
parents have final authority. 

There is currently some speculation that the board of directors 
and the parent governing board may merge and become not only responsible 
for all phases of program management, but actively involved in doing 
these things. As mentioned earlier, the level of parent involvement is 
high, and the quality tumultuous. Problems are still being confronted 
and worked out, but any parent who wishes to can get involved in deter- 
mining his child's education. 

Sta f f Organization 

Heading the center organization is the director, who is responsi- 
ble for organization of the program, recruitment of staff and community 
volunteers, purchase of equipment and supplies, supervision of staff and 
arrangement of staff schedules. She is assisted by the center's secretary, 



Board of Directors 

Parent Governing Board 

Center Director 


Pediatric Team 

Psychological Services 
Legal Services 






Class room 

Sub -Committees 

Staff Screening 

Social Worker 


Assistant Cook 






who also keeps the center's books, does the correspondence and center 
reception duties. The social worker, together with the staff, encourages 
parent participation and assists pareats in location of social services and 
employment or training opportunities. Head teachers work with teacher 
assistants to plan and implement the child care program. The cook and 
her assistant prepare meals and include the children in the nutrition pro- 
gram. Maintenance and custodial care is supplied by two janitors, whose 
services are contracted* 


On an average day, there are five volunteers in the center. 
These workers are easily recruited (infact, the center has to limit appli- 
cations) from the community, colleges and nursing schools, and from 
t'le Neighborhood Youth Corps. Applicants for employment often work 
at the center for six months as volunteers before becoming paid employees. 
All volunteers are screened by a parent/staff group before being allowed 
tD work in the center. 

S taff Meetings and Records 

Meetings of all staff and interested parents are held once a 
week. Discussions revolve around the children, the curriculum, the use 
of space and the general environment. Individual staff members meet 
with the director as needed, as well as for a yearly evaluation. 

It is typical of this center's style of operation that parents have 
decided they do not want their children "tested" in conventional ways. 
Instead, each teacher is responsible for five children. Teachers make 
written comments on all children they have observed each day. These 
are circulated among the staff daily. Teachers clip out other teachers' 
comments about "their" children to maintain running profiles on the stu- 
dents in their charge. 


Once a month, teachers visit the homes of their five children to 
talk with parents about student progress. More informal staff/parent 
contacts occur at the center every day, and parents have benefitted in 
knowing that there is one particular teacher who can help them with ques- 
tions about their child. 

Staff Development and Training 

New staff members participate in a one-week orientation designed 
to acquaint them with early childhood education. In-service staff training 
meetings are held once a week, led by the director or consultants in the 
field of child development. All staff participates. Parents are also en- 
couraged to attend, but so far their turnout has not been high. Saturday 
workshops in child development or pre -school curriculum are often held 
at the center. In addition, staff members frequently take part in training 
workshops held by various agencies outside the center. 

The director feels that extensive in-service training contributes 
to staff equality, in that the continuing para-professional staff has responsi- 
bility and knows much that recently added professional staff has to learn. 
This equality of responsibility and knowledge has its drawbacks. Three 
lead teachers are new this year, and there is some disgruntled feeling among 
the teacher assistants that they are carrying the bulk of the load without 
benefitting from the lead teachers' higher salaries. The lead teachers are 
supposed to be resources for para-professional staff, but are presently not 
being consulted. 

A limited career development program exists for teacher assis- 
tants. The center pays for enrollment in one institutional course per 
year. There is no college credit available for the in-center training pro- 
gram, although at least one teacher is receiving some formal course 
credit on a work-study basis for her work at the center. The director 
provides career counseling to all staff members. 


The training program has allowed the center to hire at least 
seven staff members who would otherwise not have been hired due to 
lack of experience. In the past year, one teacher assistant has become 
a teacher; one parent became a teacher assistant; one parent became 
the cook's assistant, and another parent became health coordinator. 



On the next page is the functional breakdown of the way 
1970 - 71 income (shown in At A Glance ) will be used. The In-Kind 
column may include one or more of the following types of donations: 
materials, facilities, underpaid labor, volunteer labor, and labor 
paid for by another agency. 

For the sake of clarity, expenditures are divided into four 
categories. Together, the first three make up basic child care costs: 


This category shows costs commonly incurred in day care 

A. Child Care and Teaching - -personnel, curriculum and 
general classroom supplies. 

B. Administration- -personnel, equipment depreciation, 
office supplies, staff travel, telephone, insurance, 

C. Feeding - -personnel, food stuffs, other food related 


This category shows costs which can be assumed cither 
by operators, o_r by parents, or by both: 

D. Health- -personnel, supplies, health related services. 

E. Transportation - -personnel, operating expenses, main- 
tenance, insurance. 


Because occupancy costs vary widely, they are shown 
separately. Included: rental value of property, utilities, 
taxes, property insurance, custodial personnel and supplies. 


This final category shows program enrichment elements 
above and beyond basic care which have significant dollar 
costs or revenues associated with them. 



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51 3 $ 

5* o* ff* 

O t— M i— (Jl 

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It seems reasonable to let parents speak about the impacts they 
have observed on their children and their family lives and to let staff speak 
for themselves. 

What parents like for their children: 

"At the center, they don't punish a child- -they try to work 
with him to help him verbalize instead of hitting. Help him 
try to work out a solution, maybe present alternative be- 
havior. I have only recently become aware of this method 
and the validity of it. The teachers are well trained, for 
the most part. More basically, they really like children. " 

"The program has a great variety of matierals and experi- 
ences for the children. Both staff and children come from 
many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. " "I like 
this set-up, in which there is a lot of interaction between 
age groups and the various forces of learning that are pro- 
vided- -the learning areas. The caution is that the older 
ones need to have their standards, not just providing 
resources for the younger ones. The center has helped the 
children keep busy and involved. They don't suffer from 
not having a mother. " 

"The British Infant system is excellent and becoming in- 
creasingly better. " "I just saw children playing outside and 
walked in one day. I brought my kids here because I felt 
strongly when I first walked in the office. I felt such good 
vibes from the front office. Public school day care was 
authoritarian-- they didn't like it." 

"I want my kids to act freely. I don't want them inhibited. 
I don't want them to hurt other people. May son built a 
block bridge that was real special. The teacher made a 
big thing of it and left it for others to see. May son was 
so proud. This kind of approach is fantastic." 

"What does not make teachers good are the number of de- 
grees. They have warmth, and are constantly responsive 
to the children. They communicate with the child and show 
physical affection. They should be able to initiate activities 
that children can get involved in, and their approach should 
be open. " 


"The most beautiful thing here is the feeling of brotherhood- - 
Black and White are like a family. It's spread to all the 
children. Older children help take care of the young. 
Love is so apparent. I like the staff and their affection for 
the kids also. The staff has incredible enthusiasm and 
energy. There are slow children-- but they can all explore 
their own possibilities. " 

"Kids here are happy. Most parents have serious problems, 
and the kids are not totally secure at home. Independence 
among children here is expected and encouraged. " "I put 
my child here because it was a community-type effort and 
a new thing. He was enrolled in Montessori school and I 
took him out to put him here. Montessori was too expensive 
and too structured. He didn't like it. " 

"Many people don't like the loose atmosphere here. Children 
are guided through change. My son is able to lead himself. 
He prefers to play with friends rather than stay with pro- 
jects. He likes the exploration rooms and trips-- he's de- 
veloping socially. He is kindergarten age and I decided he 
should stay here all day rather than go to public school. " 

"I think the teachers are exceptional. They really try to 
get into the kids. They don't operate on strict structure-- 
they're open to change. I like the varied program, the 
trips, the relaxed social atmosphere. He relates better 
now. Through the teacher's help, he knows how to write 
his name and so on, which I couldn't teach him. He's now 
self-directing, tends less to work against us because he has 
kids to deal with. " 

"The unstructured program takes into account the unstructured 
home life of some kids. Teachers are interested in the 
child's future. The center offers people who are symbolic 
authority figures for kids with transient people in their 
lives. " "Some think it's hippie till they find out for them- 
selves. A lot of people place a lot of value on clothes and 
judge by that. " 

"He'll be smarter than I ever was. I like everything about 
this center. I've found that my son is very sensitive. It has 
changed things. I understand the way he feels about things. 
He's more inclined to eat a variety of foods like vegetables, 
and the reading readiness program has helped my daughter. " 

"My child needed more social experiences. She was with a 
babysitter before. The teachers are fantastic. It's an in- 
credible staff. They are warm and involved, with an ob- 
jective approach to children. In nursery schools teachers 


have set good and bad behavior standards. We don't. 
Teachers here don't go to the other extreme. The kids 
know where the edge of the circle is. " 

"The unstructured program gives freedom to the children 
to explore their interests. I like the lack of emphasis on 
value judgments and behavior standards." "I've never seen 
any of the teachers lose their tempers or hit a child. They 
explain carefully so the child will understand. If a child is 
crying they will take him aside and hold him, be almost 
like a parent. They need just as much love when their 
parents aren't around as when they are. " 

"It's free--the child can go to whatever interests him, do 
what he wants. They have field trips-- in the summer, 
once a week. Now he gets along better with other children. 
It's good that it's a neighborhood center. The children are 
from the same kind of families. I like the fact that most 
of the teachers live in the area and are involved in the 
community. " 

"She's learning the basics, getting a good basic education. 
My older girl was here for kindergarten last year and 
went into the first grade slow class. In one week she was 
moved to the top class. The overall center has improved 
greatly. Discipline- has improved. I approve of the unstruc- 
tured program. It lets the child develop at his own rate of 
speed. The reading' program is also good. My daughter 
enjoys it-- it makes her feel grown-up." 

What parents like for themselves: 

"Since I see less of them now I am able to relate better to 
them when I'm with them. It enables me to do different 
things which have made me a better and growing person. 
I'm not a particularly good mother, so the less time I spend 
with them, the better mother I can be when I'm with them. 
The courses I'm taking and my participation in the center 
have increased my interest in children. It's made me much 
happier. Freed me to do things I want to do. Now I am 
better able to give myself on weekends and evenings and 
everyone-- husband and kids-- benefits." 

"It's a tremendous thing for the Haight-Ashbury neighbor- 
hood. " "They have child care for parent meetings." "A 
handful of teachers has been acting as a whip to shape up 
teachers and program. I'm active in school meetings. 
The actual parent participation is done by a handful-- a 
concerned core. Having the center in the neighborhood 


breaks down barriers. People know each other. It pro- 
vides for good rapport and good neighbors, helps improve 
the neighborhood. We can stand against the weird element 
that is passing through. " 

"Lynn can provide an educational resource to parents -- 
a good leader can explain, advise in a strong way, sell 
an idea. " "I am going to school and getting credit for 
working in the center. My income has increased $200 -- 
a lot. " "I need to be at work from 8:30 to 5. I don't 
feel rushed on either end, have time to talk to teachers. 
The fee is smaller here -- it took a strain off our budget. " 
"Our income has increased 100%. I am desperate for 
the center. There is no way I can work and pay a baby- 
sitter. I would have to go on welfare. " "The care I 
used to have cost triple what this does. " 

What parents don't like, or would like to see: 

"It's not kept clean enough. We have janitorial problems. 
I see it as a minor thing. " "The staff doesn't know how to 
punish a child. There's too much emphasis on the verbal. 
My concept of punishment is constructive, not a reaction to 
something. I don't hesitate to use a mild spank or tap. 
The staff is good as a whole. Interaction with parents pro- 
vides some guidance. In general, they should take more 
initiative. " 

"There should be a better sense of cleanliness." "Their 
language and table manners aren't as good. There's a 
happy-go-lucky slum area attitude that needs tightening 
up. Many people need to know what real love is-- discipline 
doesn't mean being closed-minded. To be open doesn't 
mean to be permissive. " 

"The place needs fixing up, a little less chaos, a little more 
security. All staff and the director are aware and working 
on this. " "They punish iny child by singling him out and 
criticizing him. Sometimes I don't think he should be criti- 
cized in front of others. " 

"The unstructured program seems to be its own evil. There's 
more room for mistakes. I don't want more structure but 
less mistakes. The physical building is hard to keep clean. 
All parents complain about dirty conditions. The toilets 
smell and there are generally unsanitary conditions. " 


"Some staff are afraid to really discipline. They should be 
more firm in some instances." "I don't care for the aggres- 
sion of children, though I accept it. There are very hostile 
and aggresive children here and my child finds this difficult, 
although she's learning to fight back when there's not adult 
around. " 

"Parents need to get together. There are cliques. One 
formed before I got here (educated White mothers), and 
won't let anyone in. " "I like the play structure, but it 
would be nice to have more space for play outdoors. I'd 
like to see them teach children words-- may son has 
learned his numbers up to 20. I'd like to see more im- 
provements in the lower classrooms, take up the rugs 
(bad odor), better floors in the bathroom to make it more 
sanitary, better lighting. " 

What staff has to say: 

"You must be able t,> guide children, to be detached. You 
must not rush a child, but let him go at his own rate. You 
have to like kids, respect them as human beings. You 
need to be healthy, and expect the unexpected. Training 
can be a help for a teacher-- you need technique to fall 
back on. But you've got to be able to make it with kids. '' 
"Pre-schoolers need basically to be in an environment where 
they feel free enough to learn-- not just facts --an attitude 
of openness. Many have a negative approach at home and 
need to learn to trust. We try to give them a sense of re- 
sponsibility and teach them to direct their energies. I 
hope they'll be creative thinkers, but it depends on where 
they go from here, what schools they get. " 

"Parent involvemen: is far too small. The word comes from 
the board and the director. " "I plan to stay here indefinitely, 
as long as the inspiration and health last. As an assistant 
teacher, salary is adequate to your needs, but low in compari- 
son with head teachers who make $150 more for the same 
work. To advance in this program I'd need more education. 
I've been here 11 months longer than the head teacher and 
run my own area. " 

"I don't feel many kids need the care we give now-- they 
could go home earlier, don't need care from 4 to 6. " "What 
I like best about the program is the kids. I don 't like it that 
teachers don't talk with others. The air of anonymity among 
staff. With this new system we're spread out: kids don't 
have a place of reference." "There's no reason for a child 
to cry. I control my area to avoid frustrating situations. 
I don't want a kid freaking out. " 


"A good teacher must have the ability to listen and stay- 
calm. Don't set such high standards for kids that they 
can't meet them. Be sympathetic and listening. Be firm-- 
know what you're doing and telling a child. You have to 
like kids and enjoy what you're doing. You can't fool little 
kids. As an adult you're teaching a child-- make sure 
you know what you're doing. " 

"More training would help me as a teacher. A good teacher 
is someone around whom children can work. Training alone 
isn't enough-- you must have other qualities." "Pre-schoolers 
need a lot of physical contact-- picking them up, saying 
hello as you pass. Physically carry a child to reassure him. 
All little kids respond to physical contact. This age is 
self-centered-- they must be made aware of rules of be- 
having with others-- you must explain to them over and 
over. " 

"I don't really think the parents make many decisions. They 
get into wild discussions-- sometimes insulting each other. 
Once, one slapped another. But, in the end, I think the di- 
rector makes the decisions. I can't think of any changes 
that have come about because of parents. They are mostly 
concerned with fixing up the building and I guess there's 
no money for that. Staff meetings? The director talks for 
two or three hours and the teachers listen and that's it. De- 
cisions come down from the top, with the staff doing very 
little beyond accepting whatever has been decided. But 
there is no one person approving or disapproving what you 
do in your specific area, and that gives you the freedom to 
do whatever you want. Staff is not utilized to their fullest 
ability. Members are not assigned to areas they can work 
best in, and the whole idea of staying in one area and not 
paying attention to individual children is not very healthy. 
Children are free to start a project here, mess something 
up, and if they don't like the way that adult handles them, 
they are left free to go somewhere ehie and do the same 
thing there. " 

"My salary is low here, but I like my job, and nobody pays 
well. I like the fact that there are so many people who are 
in the here and now with the children and give them a lot of 
personal attention. The attitude of teachers is not so much 
to teach a child something, but to make sure that the child 
has a good day and find out why if they don't. What do I 
like least? It's too dirty, and sometimes becomes a re- 
pulsive environment for the children. " 


"I encourage verbalizing, socializing, cooperative play, 
solitary play, activities, thought, expressing oneself. These 
kids will feel good about themselves at age ten. I hope they 
will feel a sense of achievement. " "Parents are board mem- 
bers. The PAC which elects the board members assists 
in policymaking, hiring and firing staff. Authority on all 
matters lies with parents. Parents have made sure we 
finally have a good set of janitors. Many new materials 
we have are due to their efforts. " 

"Since parents have been involved as staff members, it 
has improved regularity of attendance, we have even better 
parent-staff relations, more community involvement. How 
long will I stay here? I don't know. Funding crises are a 
drag. There's been giant turnover. Overtime is- required 
and there are pay inadequacies. Decisions about the pro- 
gram are not made eff ciently because so many of us are 
involved. " "The salary is low, but I stay because I feel a 
loyalty to the program. I don't know if I can advance in 
the program: funding is uncertain. " 

"I like the British Infant School methods, the warmth and 
involvement of all people participating. What do I like 
least? My .salary-- the inadequate pay to all staff." "The 
board generally is the place to which parents go with com- 
plaints or in-center policy reactions. Many decisions made 
by the parent board are made with the needs and wants of 
parents, without their actually understanding just what goes 
into teaching and disciplining the children. " 

"We use observation to understand a particular child and 
what he is doing and where he is at, for a profile to present 
to the parent. As a pi-rent, Hook at things from the parents' 
point of view. If the kid has a hard day, I tell them so they 
can take steps to work on and improve things. " "A good 
teacher can relate to parents without putting them on edge. 
Training can help make a good teacher, but teaching is such 
a delicate thing-- many of the basic qualities can't be 
trained in. " 

"I discourage total dependency in a child. I try to steer 
the child into activity or help him find a way of handling 
it for himself. I help him, but I don't do it for him. I exu^.e 
the confidence that I know he can do it for himself and I 
expect it. I hope they will have a lot of zeal when they get 
older. This gets dulled." 

"Parents are not as involved as they should be. A core 
group of parents ended up doing things-- a let-the-estab- 
lishment-do-it attitude. It's changing now to 'We have to 
be more active. ' At first, some parents talked down other 


parents and discouraged them. Lynn's word was immediate 
law." "Parents love their children, but they don't know if 
they're doing the right thing. They're a little tense about 
it-- 'Do you think I'm really too strict?' Staff compensates 
by being so lenient. It's hard to find the middle of the road-- 
it's either perfect or a mess. " 

"In working here every day I'm stiumlated to learn more 
about children, what's good for them. I learn about a 
group and apply it to mine. I've had some things to un- 
learn. I plan to stay here permanently. " "Changes from 
self-contained to open floor plan haven't been worked 
through. Transitions are problems." "I like the openness 
with children. Staff and parents aren't as close as they 
need to be. " "The director has used a lot of ideas I've 
thrown out at teachers' meetings. The board doesn't really 
understand the staff's method of discipline. " 

"There's not enough time to talk about the program. No, 
the program doesn't run smoothly-- but I'm not sure that's 
good. I like the positive feeling for the children, the desire 
of most of the staff to work together, the experimentation, 
the easiness in feeling. I don't care for the strain, sickness 
due to overwork, strain between staff members. I'm un- 
certain as to the direction of the center." "The teacher's 
role in this program is to set up an environment in such a 
way that the children want to learn. We foster the idea 
that knowledge is a joy and an interrelationship and children 
act on their own. " 

It was the judgment of the observation team which visited Haight- 
Ashbury in November of 1970 that this program is a high-quality one. 
Parents and staff interviewed shared this opinion, yet were honestly criti- 
cal of what they felt to be failures and shortcomings. This attitude of 
frank evaluation and criticism was rather unusual in our study. It seems 
to us to indicate not so much dissatisfaction with the overall program as 
a real preoccupation with making that program better. 

At the basic care level, every element was present and effective: 
protection, nutrition, tender loving care, general stimulation of mind 
and body, and health care. In addition, the center has much to offer its 
children, staff, parents and community: 


For children: skill teaching in self-reliance; communi- 

cation; peer cooperation and teaching; 
open classrooms and family grouping; 
free choice of activities and pace in 
program; cross-cultural appreciation; 
community awareness; self-image 

For staff: chance to work with children; in-service 

support; creative freedom; advancement 
through training; basic pay; 

For parents: chance to work; awareness of adequate 

care for child; maintenance of parent 
role; financial investment in center through 
share plan; cross-cultural appreciation; 
effective counseling and referral to com- 
munity social services; parent control 
and decision-making; parent-community 
social events; community action opportunities. 

For community: information flow about center activities 

through media; volunteer opportunities; 
use of other service agencies; commu- 
nity action opportunities; community- 
owned center. 

It is difficult to know how to conclude this case study now that 
Lynn Steinman is no longer director and many of the teachers have left 
since the center was visited. Yet the center's vitality springs from a 
community of interest among directors, staff, parents, kids. At least, 
it certainly appeared to come from this kind of support last November. 


If this is the case, then it is reasonable to expect that the center 
will go on -- perhaps somewhat changed, but with energy. Perhaps the 
staff that left will start another place like the Haight-Ashbury Children's 
Center. It is hard not to believe that that would be a good thing. 



This appendix contains illustrative materials drawn directlv 
from the center and includes: 

Parents' Participation Share Plan 

Sample Menu 

Future Plans for Development 

For additional information about the British Infant System 

Central Advisory Council for Education. Children and Their Primary 
Schools . Volume I. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 


Parents Participation Share Plan 

What is it? 

The Parent's Plan is designed to assure the parents participation 
in the ownership, operation and management of the Center. Parents are 
required to purchase shares in the Center as long as their children are 
enrolled. The purchases are made on a monthly installment basis of $25.00 
per installment, but in special circumstances the installment may be less 
as explained below. 

How does it work? 

After a parent has paid $2 50. 00 a half share is issued and the half 
share pays interest at 6% per year from the time the share is issued. Pay- 
ment of interest is made once a year. In addition, a payment is returned 
on the $2 50. 00 of around 10%. After three years, the entire balance of the 
half share is paid off to the parent or anyone else that the parent designates. 
If your child is withdrawn from the Center for any reason, the installments 
that have been paid on incomplete shares (less than $2 50) will be refunded 
less a 15% handling charge. A refund is not made on installments that 
have been converted to half shares. Everytime a payment is made a re- 
ceipt is issued and records are kept based on the issued receipt. You must 
be sure to take a receipt when you make your installment payment. 

Why is participation necessary? 

Your Children's Center is a new venture that was started without 
the aid of government money. The operating costs are now being met 
largely with government funds. However, the buildings and the grounds 
are not government owned as is much of the equipment your child uses. To 
acquire the building and grounds and to meet large expenses before govern- 
ment funds were available, money was borrowed. Much of the borrowed 
money has already been paid back, but there is still money owed. Your 
participation in share purchases will help pay the loans back. 

In addition, our new Center has plans to expand to accommodate 
more children and this cannot be done without very costly remodeling. 
The parents shares will provide some of the cost for that expansion and the 
continued participation will assure the ability of the Center to borrow 
money in the future because the Center will always have an assured monthly 
income from which debts can be paid off. 

Another important reason for participation is that it gives the 
parents part ownership in the building and grounds. As a part owner it is 
felt that the parents will be more vitally concerned with the operation of 
the Center and will participate in its affairs. This is done through your 
vote in the election of members to the Board of Directors. Of great 


importance participation gives the parents an opportunity to be involved 
in an important facility that will continue to serve the community in the 

How long will the plan be in operation? 

The plan is absolutely essential now and for the next few years as 
far as can be forseen now. It may be needed as long as the Center has 
substantial debts which are not paid by government funds. It would be 
ideal if contributed funds can be obtained to pay off the present mortgage 
and the debt that will be acquired in the expansion that is planned for the 
future. The present mortgage will be paid off in 1970 so that the plan 
would not be needed after that. Actually the duration of the plan will be 
decided by the Board of Directors of the Center and if it appears that the 
plan can be terminated sooner your Board of Directors can be expected to do 
so. In any case, parents required participation in the plan will last only 
as long as your child is enrolled in the Center. 

Who owns the buildings and grounds now ? 

To answer this question some background information will be 
useful. The last owner of the buildings was the Small Business Administra- 
tion, an agency of the U.S. Government. They were willing to sell the 
buildings but since the Center wasn't yet established they could not sell to 
a "non-existent" entity. For that reason a separate entity (organization) 
was formed for the sole purpose of buying the buildings and leasing them 
to the Center. That entity is called "1101 Masonic Limited." That kind 
of organization is called a "limited partnership" and it is characterized 
as having general partners and limited partners. The general partners 
have unlimited liability and are responsible for all debts and obligations 
of the property. The only debt, in the main, is to see that the Small 
Business Administration gets their monthly payments. The General 
Partners are Alvin Duskin and Harold Shain, whose wives were and con- 
tinue to be active in the Center. The Small Business Administration re- 
garded these men as being acceptable persons to be responsible for the 
monthly payments - no matter what happens in the future. But they are 
not the owners. The owners are all the partners together except that the 
limited partners (all the other partners) have no other liability whatsoever. 
The limited partnership interest is evidenced by the shares that are issued. 
When a parent is issued his half share, he becomes a limited partner and 
is thus made an owner together with the other partners. The General 
Partners have responsibilities other than to see that mortgage payments 
are made on time. For example, they are required to see that the limited 
partner's interest is protected as much as possible by requiring that the 
Center carry adequate insurance, that the Center not allow the buildings to 
fall into disrepair, that the Center make their rent payments to 1101 Masonic, 
Ltd. , that the payments of principal and interest be made to the limited 
partners and that funds be available when shares mature and when install- 
ment payments are to be returned. There are still other responsibilities 
of the General Partners, but these will serve as examples. The General 


Partners of 1101 Masonic and the members of your Board of Directors 
serve without payment of any kind. 

Does this mean that the Center does not get the money when the installment 
payments are made ? 

That is right. The money goes to 1101 Masonic, Ltd. immediately, 
but it will come back to the Center later. Right now it is being used to pay 
off loans to the Center. Although two separate organizations are involved 
they have the same objectives and goals so that they are constantly working 
together to achieve the objectives and goals. However, 1101 Masonic 
has responsibilities to the mortgage. 



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I. Infanta - Toddlers 

A. As a resource-consultant center for families needing foster 
day care for children below the age of two and a half. 

1. The center will find and train people in the neighborhood 
interested in taking care of children in their own homes. 

2. The center will interview parents seeking care for 
children under two and will help them in finding place- 
ment for their child. 

3. The center will have personnel assigned to each family 
and responsible for following up each placement with 
visits to the placement home and consultation with the 
family on a monthly basis. 

B. As a "Drop-in Parent -Infant -Toddler Learning Center" for 
expectant families and families with children under two and 
a half years of age. 

1. The center will provide the staffing and equipped 
facilities for a drop -in center to operate daily between 
the hours of 9:00 and 5:00, with some evening sessions 
for parents. Resource people for this program will 
be provided by U. C. Nursing in the areas of health, 
nutrition, child development, infant stimulation and 
leadership for group sessions for mothers and fathers. 
Other local agencies and individuals will be asked to 

2. Group sessions for unmarried mothers, expectant 
mothers and e juples will be offered. People interested 
in training as foster day care personnel for infants 
will be included. Those involved in such training may 
be paid for their involvement. 

3. The drop -in program will focus on providing opportu- 
nity for mothers to increase skills in infant care, to 
assist them in recognizing the developmental potential 
of the infancy period, and to provide group sessions 
for parents to assist them in dealing with their role 
as parents and marriage partners. 

4. Many of the parents utilizing such a program may be in 
need of some part-time care for their infants, or in 
need of some time to themselves. During the hours of 
operation trained personnel will be provided to allow 
mothers to participate in group sessions. Mothers will 


be encouraged to work out a cooperative arrangement 
outside of the center with each other for exchange 
opportunities away from their children. 

C. A well-baby clinic will operate part-time at the center. 

1. There is presently no "well -baby" clinic in the Haight- 
Ashbury area. The availability of one will not only 
serve families of the area, but its location at the center 
will increase the opportunity for bringing in parents 
who might become involved in some of the other ser- 
vices of the center. 

D. A Health Center (total family) will operate part-time at the 

1. Through U.C., efforts will be made to set up a part- 
time health center for family health care. 

II. Pre-School Children -- extension of services offered 

A. A half -day enrichment pre-school program. 

1. Many families of the HA not requiring a day care ser- 
vice are in need of a half-day nursery school program 
for their pre-school aged children. The facilities, 

if further outside space is acquired, could provide such 
a program in addition to the day care program. Eli- 
gibility for such a program would have to be based on 
more than income level. 

2. Such a program might utilize S. F. Parent Cooperative, 
AB1331, or Head Start funding. 

B. An outreach program for setting up cooperative child care for 
those in need of it in the area who are not eligible for or whose 
needs differ from the programs offered at the center. 

1. It has been indicated that UC Medical Center students 
and personnel have had difficulty in setting up a co-op 
arrangement for child care. The center could assist 
such a group and other groups on a consultant basis. 

C. Health services at the center would be utilized by this group. 

D. A program for parents of pre-school children would be pro- 
vided for evenings and weekends. 

E. A parent observation class for toddlers under Adult Education, 
S.F. Unified School District (2 mornings a week) coordinated 
with the well -baby clinic. 


III. School -Aged Children 

A. An extended or full -day day care program for children aged 
5 to 8 could be provided at the center. 

1. There would be 2 groups of 20 children with appropriate 
staffing and ps-ogram for an extended day care program. 
The children involved would come to the center following 
their school time (i. e. , 51s at 12:30 or pre -session 
morning, 9 to 3 children from 3 to 6). An alternative 
would be extending present full-day care to include 
older children. 

B. A program of special classes would be offered to school -aged 
children during afternoons and weekends. 

1. The center presently has a darkroom, inviting a class 
in photography. 

2. A woodwork shop will be provided. 

3. Classes in creative writing, creative dramatics, dance 
and tutorial classes are anticipated. Interest will be 
used to determine possible classes. 

4. A Saturday film program is now in operation. 

C. The Health Clinic would be available for children involved in 
the after-school program. 

D. The parents of after-school children would be required to be 
involved to the degree possible in the program and utilize the 

IV. Adolescents 

A. The center will serve as a resource center in developing a 
community program to serve adolescents. 

1. The center will not have facilities for serving adoles- 
cents except some evening and weekend classes. It 
will look for local sources and facilities to offer such 
resources, and if necessary, coordinate such a program. 

B. Many adolescents will soon be parents. It will be the intention 
of the center to work with the local high school and junior high 
school to develop a program where students can be assigned 

to supervised participation at the center where they may have 
the opportunity to work with young children. They could be 
assigned to work in the day care classes, with the center's 
cook, or parent community worker or in other areas of the 


C. Parents of adolescents using the center will be represented 
on the Board. Parents of adolescents will be invited to use 
the center. 

V, Parents 

A. The center will belong to the parents. 

1. The Board will be required to include at least 50% 
parents representing each level of the program. 

2. A parent advisory board has been established. All 
parents using the center will be members of parent 
committees. They will select representatives for 
them to the PAC and Board. 

B. It is assumed that the above program represents the needs of 
parents in the area. New programs and revisions of the above 
will be made according to parent decisions. The program 
arid staff will be selected by the parents. 

C. There are presently few places parents can go to be around 
other adults. Each aspect of the program will include oppor- 
tunities for parents to use the center, too. 

1. A social worker and parent community worker will be 
provided to focus on parent interests, problems and 
needs. It will be their responsibility to assist parents 
in obtaining what they want from the center. The 
center will be available evenings and weekends to serve 
parent and community interests. 

D. House Legal Aide, Planned Parenthood 

It is presently impossible to provide such a family center other than on a 
piecemeal basis. For example, we are working on the day care program 
(in operation since October, 1969). This becomes a full-time project. 
Infant, after-school and adolescent services get left until later. It would 
seem that a family center, as described above, would only be possible 
in the near future if a source of comprehensive funding at least for ad- 
ministration and program development was provided. Otherwise, it 
would be years before the total program materialized. For this reason, 
it is important that the center immediately seek a source of demonstration 
funds that could encompass such a program. Local and federal funds 
available would be utilized to complement such "demonstration funding" 
and provide a multiple -funded, comprehensive "family center" program. 


U.S. Department of 

Health, Education, and Welfare 

Office of education 

Washington. D.C. 20202 

official business